The NEW Normal | Redefing Life After Diagnosis
When The Old Me is Lost, How Do I Find a New Me?
I'll never forget hearing my doctor tell me I had been diagnosed with Lupus. I figured this would be like other things. I would make a plan, overcome it, and keep going. Little did I know that what could stop me would be my own body trying to kill me. Over the years, the ups the downs, the additional diagnosis, the wear and tear on the body and emotional toll began to rob me of who my old self was. There is the list of things that I was. Nothing used to hold me back. Challenges were just another obstacle to be overcome. I made lists and plans for everything. The world lay at my feet. These are all great lines aren't they? Then the new reality hits. They “just have to get the right med combo,” and life will be sort of normal in your new way. Maybe that should have been my first warning sign.
The only new normal is there is no normal. Oxford Dictionary defines normal as, “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.” I love the study of languages, words; etymology is a comfort for me. The origin of words, how they came to mean what we understand them to mean and use them in common use today. Well, I decided to hop on over to urbandictionary.com since I have been struggling with my “new normal.” Now this site is both helpful and the antithesis of everything academic, which may be why I love it. It has some practical street smarts. One definition of normal is, “The worst thing you can ever be; you can't be normal.” Suddenly I was comforted.
In a world of normal, I was ok. I am better then that; I am stellar. See, people see a broken body, me limping, a person that has given up so much. I still grieve the old me. I won't lie or pretend I don't miss the old healthy me. I wish I could work; I bug my doctor on every visit if she would hurry up and find my magic combo. But, I am stellar at “Normal.” I am still struggling to find what I am supposed to be doing. I find myself advocating for those that don't have a voice, or are afraid to speak up. Was this what I imagined? No. Did I think those college degrees would pay off like this? Well, not exactly. But remember, I'm stellar at “Normal.”
So today, be normal. Not the standard, stodgy, conforming type. Be the worst thing you can be type of normal.